Angela Yee is best known as the co-host of the global radio show “The Breakfast Club” alongside Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy. However, aside from being a 20-year radio veteran and media expert, Yee is a serial entrepreneur who is taking the coffee industry by storm.
In addition to “The Breakfast Club,” the 42-year-old personality hosts a television show on Fox Soul and a long-running podcast called Lip service. Additionally, she owns a juice bar in Brooklyn, NY, as well as a hair store in Detroit. She is also a real estate investor and founder of a nonprofit literacy and wellness program. On top of that, the Brooklyn native ventured into the coffee industry last year by launching a specialty coffee brand called Coffee uplifts people (CUP). His idea for the company was born after meeting the founders of Brooklyn roast in the midst of the pandemic. Through research, she then found that discriminatory practices marginalized people of color in countries where coffee beans are harvested.
“Coffee beans come from all these different places [like] Ethiopia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Guyana, Jamaica, ”said Yee BLACK COMPANY. “I feel like it’s something that really belongs to us, but we can’t enjoy the fruits of this labor so much.”
Yee and his two business partners, Tony Forte and LaRon Batchelor, created CUP to bring inclusiveness and diversity to all facets of the coffee business and supply chain. Not only did they start a coffee business with fair trade offerings, but CUP ultimately aims to evolve the whole industry to become more fair, especially for farmers of color.
“The amount of money people make in the cafe, I think, has been unfair for so long. So now is the time to make sure that the people who really are the ones in these countries are the ones who benefit, ”says the former head of hip hop marketing.
To create more balance, CUP is intentional about the origin of their grains. Yee is also empowering local minority entrepreneurs by contracting all black-owned businesses to build CUP’s brick-and-mortar store, which is slated to open in Brooklyn’s Bedstuy neighborhood in August.
“We use all the black-owned businesses in the process of building that space,” she says. From interior designer to architect to engineers and electricians, everyone involved in the development of the store is black.
CUP is currently distributed to 10 Rouses supermarkets and will be sold to other major retailers next month, including 11 Whole Foods around New York City and 16 Stop & Shop stores. Additionally, consumers can also find CUP’s top six flavor offerings at regional deli stores like Brooklyn Fare and Union Market.
CUP is just the latest addition to Yee’s growing business portfolio. Even with her contract at iHeartRadio, she emphasizes the importance of generating multiple streams of income.
“You have to have an identity outside of your nine-to-five. So it has always been very important for me to be my own person other than just being a member of ‘The Breakfast Club’, ”she says.
“I also have to think about my future because radio is not eternal,” she continued. “I think ahead. I don’t think about how do I get a check today; I’m thinking about how I’m investing my money right now, so in five years [or] In 10 years, you will be able to see the gains you have made from these investments.
“I’m just trying to make sure that I diversify in a way that also makes sense and is authentic to me,” she added. “To have a juice press whose company is authentic to me. I feel like the cafe business is, I feel like the hair store is. So I try to do things that make sense. I am not making money for the sake of making money.
Learn more about Angela Yee’s line of squeezed juices, Brooklyn Juice Bar, and Coffee Uplifts People in the latest episode of The New Normal with Selena Hill below.